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Kona Kai Resort, Gallery & Botanic Garden
Ranked #1 of 17 Key Largo B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersSilver level
Galway
Level 4 Contributor
46 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
“A Haven”
Reviewed March 21, 2008

Myself and my partner stayed for three nights, and the Resort offered a haven from the Signpost Madness that is Route 1 down through the Keys. We were visiting from Ireland, and so the chance to watch the sunset in shirtsleeves down on the jetty, take the kayak out, swing in the hammocks and swim in the warm pool was simply delightful. Nothing was too much trouble for any of the staff, and I just wished that we had more time to enjoy the facilities there. Kona Kai reminded me of a small upmarket Asian resort..it has wonderfully maintained gardens with lots of spots to relax or barbeque. My only negative comment would be about the constant noise of the main road, not from the room, but from the pool or on the quay which is no reflection on the Resort, but its truly a shock when you think you are miles away from anywhere...!

  • Liked — Layout of resort, gardens and beach
  • Disliked — noise from the road
  • Stayed March 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Veronica S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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468 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (124)
Date | Rating
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English first
Springfield, Virginia
Level 3 Contributor
20 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
Reviewed March 19, 2008

My husband and I stayed at the Kona Kai for six nights, in early December 2007. We could not have been more pleased with the property or our experience there.

For the few reviewers who are unhappy with the property, I do understand where they are coming from. The Kona Kai really isn't a resort, in terms of my general expectation of what constitutes a resort. For us, that was a good thing, but for people who like the activities and entertainment of a resort, I am sure it would be a disappointment. I really don't think there is any intention on the part of the property to misrepresent their amenities -- their website provides an accurate representation of their property -- but they must just have a different definition of resort than most of us do. The Kona Kai is a place to rest, relax, refresh, reconnect, and recharge! but it does not have a bar, or a restaurant, or dancing, or planned activities -- so I would not call it a resort.

Let me tell you why we loved the Kona Kai. The grounds are lovely. The beach is lovely. The pool and hot tub are lovely. The staff are warm, friendly, extremely helpful, there when you need them and gone when you don't. The bed was unbelievably comfortable. Our room (Mango) was spacious, well-lit, with lots of room for storage, and very clean. It was just so nice. Our room even had a cork screw and wine glasses. The refrigerator at the pool was stocked with cold water that we would transfer to the fridge in the room and have on hand whenever we wanted a cold sip of water. There were kayaks that you could take out any time into the Florida Bay (right off the back dock). There were lockers for scuba gear and a tub for rinsing the gear. The Kona Kai is worth so much more than the sum of its parts because these exceptional and unexceptional amenities, when added together, sum to a wonderful experience.

There is only one restaurant within walking distance (the reviews that refer to multiple restaurants are outdated), but that one restaurant (Ballyhoo's) is right across the street, and it is probably the best seafood restaurant we have ever known. We ate there 4 nights and after having mahi mahi, tuna, and yellowtail the first three, I could not decide what to get for the fourth -- it was all so good. I wish we had seafood so good at home. There is a very well-stocked grocery store a few miles away, with an unbelievable wine selection. We also got our own coffee there since the Kona Kai coffee (provided in the room) was not to our taste (we like it dark and strong).

While we were in Key Largo, we split our time between diving/snorkeling, and the Everglades. For the diving/snorkeling, we used the Quiesence dive shop (recommended by Tracy, the concierge), and it provided excellent service. For the Everglades, we did the ecotour (recommended by Tracy); they picked us up in a zodiac right from the Kona Kai dock and took us directly into the watery Southern edges of the park. Really, the mangroves and ecology of the Everglades is just so interesting -- I didn't realize how little I knew about the park until I saw it for myself. We also drove to the Northern entrances of the park on two different days and hiked the trials, saw the alligators, and picked up milkshakes on the way home at the Robert Is Here fruit stand (also recommended by Tracy). In general, I would recommend that you let the front desk help you with any questions you have about what to do in the area.

One last note -- on reading the past reviews, I see that a few people did not find their rooms to be what they expected. I haven't seen all the rooms, but, in general, I would recommend that you look at the map on the web site and really visualize where the room is in relationship to the parking lot and other rooms. The Pineapple Suite and the Breadfruit Suite each have great views directly over the Bay. I am fairly sure no other room or suite has a water view. The Mango Room, were we stayed, claims to overlook the sandy waterfront -- but we kept the blinds on that side of the room shut because the path to the beach led right past it -- so do not pick this room for the view -- it is, however, a great room just steps from the pool and beach. For any of the other rooms -- again, I didn't see them -- but I wouldn't get your hopes too high about the room itself -- it is sure to be clean and comfortable, but it isn't your destination -- the best of this property is outside the rooms.

  • Liked — The grounds, pool, hot tub, and beach
  • Disliked — Lack of exerice facility
  • Stayed December 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank VAReviewer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boca Raton, Florida
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed March 9, 2008

Beautiful small resort. The women who run the place were very nice, even helping us arrange things to do while we were in the Keys. Everything was maintained extremely well - I think they even swept the sand to make it look just so.

This is a small place, maybe 10 rooms. They have no restaurant or bar. There are plenty of places nearby to go, but if plan on drinking heavily you should bring your own. If you're not a drinker (like us), this is an even bigger reason to come here.

One really nice touch -- they have a refrigerator with bottled water and fresh fruit out by the pool.

I don't think they allow kids, or there's some minimum age. We didn't see any kids there at all.

  • Liked — Too many to list
  • Disliked — Would have liked an onsite eating option.
  • Stayed February 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank wredlich
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 3 Contributor
12 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed March 6, 2008

Feb. 24-27, 2008
Small, intimate, private, understated luxury, beautiful grounds, very nice rooms and furnishings, immaculate, convenient location, beautiful sunsets, a nice beach for The Keys, and a wonderful and helpful staff. What more could we ask for? Can't think of anything. My wife and I enjoyed every aspect of our stay. We will return.
Steve and Judi
Iowa

  • Stayed February 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank SteveIowa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brooklyn, NY
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed February 3, 2008

My husband and I just returned from 3 days at Kona Kai -our stay was absolutety lovely and KK cannot be praised enough.

When first arriving by car we were driving down the frankly not very charming road from the mainland, and we were getting nervous about what to expect from the keys.

Not to fear -as soon as we arrived at Kona Kai we were first impressed with the great service and friendly staff and then blown away by the atmosphere of the place (really well maintained, so quiet and absolutely beautiful).

The dock and sunset view is fabulous. Perfect setting to enjoy with a chilled bottle of wine. The beach, pool area and hot tub all really nice, intimate and kept sparkling by the staff. Our room was very spacious with a great bed.

We especially appreciated all the little special touches: great showers, soft linens and towels, cold bottled water at all times, fresh fruit, friendly and very knowledgeable staff with lots of honest advice about restaurant, excursions and so on.

  • Liked — The beauty and the relaxed atmosphere
  • Disliked — Would have loved it if breakfast was available in-house. Apart from that -perfect.
  • Stayed February 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank KBRBrooklyn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brunswick, Maine
Level 6 Contributor
199 reviews
31 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 188 helpful votes
Reviewed December 27, 2007

My husband raved about this place. I have yet to figure out why. The sunsets were great, but those could be had at a place 1/2 the price. The gallery is wonderful, but you don't have to be a guest to enjoy the gallery. The pool is okay, kind of small and not that warm. The hot tub was hot, but quite small. The "beach" is not what one pictures a beach to be at a "resort". The room was VERY nice especially the bathroom and specifically the shower. The bed was not the most comfortable, nor was the futon. I would pick the outside hammock for a nap. The kitchen in our room was really well equipped and I would recommend brining lots of snacks/drinks and even plan on doing some in room cooking. We did not want to drive far for a good restaurant or good place to buy food, but you do need to. We live in Florida so for me the only things this place offers that home does not is a hot tub (small) and sunsets over the water. Again, both could be had for far less money. There is a lot of concrete that could have been done with beutiful tiles instead. If you live in New England and have been snowed in for a month this would be a great place, but if you live in Florida it's not that different from home...and who wants to go to a resort that is just like home?

  • Liked — The location for sunsets.
  • Disliked — The price.
  • Stayed February 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
Helpful?
2 Thank SSSNES
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cardiff-by-the-Sea, California
Level 3 Contributor
12 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed December 17, 2007

Spent two nights the second week of December. The grounds, staff and overall feeling about the place is not only unique but welcoming and relaxing. We will be going back one day to this amazing hidden gem. The staff took special note that we were celebrating and personalized a gift and card for us. What more could you ask for....

  • Stayed December 2007
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank kikitravels
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Kona Kai Resort, Gallery & Botanic Garden

Property: Kona Kai Resort, Gallery & Botanic Garden
Address: 97802 Overseas Hwy, Mm 98, Key Largo, FL 33037-2229
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Florida > Florida Keys > Key Largo
Amenities:
Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 17 B&Bs / Inns in Key Largo
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Number of rooms: 11
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Owned and operated by the same family since 1991 and a "Fodor’s Choice" selection since 2009, Kona Kai is a magical hideaway, teeming with the natural beauty of old Key Largo and hand polished into one of the most exclusive resorts in the Florida Keys. With all new accommodations in 2013, Kona Kai is reserved for adults. Offering highly praised personalized concierge service, Kona Kai is regularly recommended by leading travel publications and websites. SInce the 2011 addition of "The Botanic Gardens at Kona Kai," guests enjoy our gardens day and night; complimentary tours for all registered guests are offered by our staff ethnobotanist. Kona Kai is a classic Keys experience; the perfect alternative if you're seeking to avoid the crowds and formality of a big resort. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Kona Kai Resort And Gallery
Kona Kai Resort & Gallery Hotel Key Largo

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